Apple’s Mountain Lion Quickly Nabs 10% of Mac Traffic

Apple’s latest version of OS X, 10.8 Mountain Lion, is only 36 days old but is already installed on over 10 percent of Macs, according to a report released by data analytics firm Chitika Thursday. Mountain Lion’s adoption rate is thus far outpacing that of OS X 10.7 Lion, which took three months to reach 14 percent of OS X users.

Chitika OS X Usage Share Mountain Lion

The data was collected by analyzing web ad impressions in the time since Mountain Lion’s launch on July 25. The operating system’s adoption by Mac users initially spiked, reaching nearly 6 percent of OS X web traffic within four days of its release. Its growth then slowed, but the Mountain Lion continued to steadily account for more web traffic over the course August, reaching 10.3 percent by August 27.

Mountain Lion’s success has likely been guided by its simple download-only installation and low price. With the exception of OS X 10.1, Mountain Lion’s US$20 upgrade price makes it the least expensive version of the operating system to date.

Problems with battery life and stricter system requirements, however, also mean that many Mac users are unwilling, or unable, to upgrade without the purchase of a new Mac.

Chitika’s analysis also paints an interesting picture of the current state of OS X usage in general. In August, 2.5 percent of Mac users were still running 10.4 Tiger, 13.1 percent were running 10.5 Leopard, 43.2 percent were on 10.6 Snow Leopard, and 31.5 percent were on 10.7 Lion. 

Mac OS X Usage By VersionChart by The Mac Observer from Chitika data.

Users of older PowerPC-based Macs are limited to 10.5 Leopard, so those numbers will continue to fall as machines begin to fail over time or users finally upgrade. Snow Leopard, with Rosetta support for emulating PPC applications, remains the most common version of OS X by far.

Perhaps the most impressive statistic is 10.7 Lion, which has only been available for a little more than a year and has still managed to capture over 30 percent of total OS X usage. If Mountain Lion’s growth continues at its current pace, it appears that Cupertino’s latest cat will exceed those numbers.

As of July 2012, the overall Mac OS X usage share is 7.55 percent, compared to 69.15 percent for all versions of Windows, and 6.57 percent for all varieties of Linux.